The United States has always been a consumer oriented society. Today, these consumers place a very high priority on good health. Their hopes have been aroused by the scientific progress of this century. The clearly apparent results of modern medicine and surgery, resulting in better health, have made a tremendous impact on the consumer-patient, and on the legislator who, understandably, may seek causes for political exploitation.
The recent disturbing increases in health care costs suggest an overburdened health care system. There appears to be a generally rising, possibly insatiable demand for, and a more slowly increasing supply of, health services. Health insurers face mounting costs and tax-supported health care programs are threatened with serious fiscal problems. When inflation of this magnitude hits our third largest "industry," a public debate over the strong and weak features of our health care system is inevitable and essential.
The most important single challenge to